Mechanical forces shaping the development of the inner ear

Roie Cohen, David Sprinzak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The inner ear is one of the most complex structures in the mammalian body. Embedded within it are the hearing and balance sensory organs that contain arrays of hair cells that serve as sensors of sound and acceleration. Within the sensory organs, these hair cells are prototypically arranged in regular mosaic patterns. The development of such complex, yet precise, patterns require the coordination of differentiation, growth, and morphogenesis, both at the tissue and cellular scales. In recent years, there is accumulating evidence that mechanical forces at the tissue, the cellular, and the subcellular scales coordinate the development and organization of this remarkable organ. Here, we review recent works that reveal how such mechanical forces shape the inner ear, control its size, and establish regular cellular patterns. The insights learned from studying how mechanical forces drive the inner ear development are relevant for many other developmental systems in which precise cellular patterns are essential for their function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4142-4148
Number of pages7
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number19
StatePublished - 5 Oct 2021


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